I've been on a cookie and goody-making spree for the past two weeks. I love giving edible gifts and more so during the holiday season. Here's a recipe that is in my cookie repatoire and is much loved by all who have ever had the chance to receive them. You might wonder what a biscotti is. Simply put, a biscotti is an almond-shaped, twice-baked cookie that originated in Italy. It is meant to be dry and crunchy. The first time I heard about this cookie, I was tickled pink because it's name is so close to the Swahili word for cookie (biskuti). This recipe I'm about to share has the desirable crunch as well as the festive colors of Christmas (green and red), owing to the candied fruit that I incorporate into the batter. The pecans used in this recipe give the biscotti an added crunch and a wonderful nutty flavor. These cookies are great for nibbling on, dunking in some cold milk or as an accompaniment to some coffee or tea. They also keep for a while if stored in an air-tight container and make great edible gifts. Since this is the season for sharing and giving, take these with you to the next holiday party you're invited to. They're sure to please.
Serving Size: 1 dozen biscotti. Feel free to double or triple the recipe if baking for a crowd.
-Cookie sheet (up greased).
-Wide, thin spatula.
-Two knives or dough cutter (to cut butter into the dough).
-Wooden spoon or a strong rubber spatula to mix dough.
-Clean dental floss or kitchen twine.
-2 cups all-purpose flour.
-1 cup granulated sugar.
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
-1/2 teaspoon salt.
-1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed.
-2 large eggs at room temperature.
-1 tablespoon milk.
-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
-1 cup chopped pecans or blanched almonds.
-1 cup candied fruits (I used a 4Oz. tub of fruitcake mix).
-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celcius).
-In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
-Cut in the cubed butter with the dough cutter or two knives in a criss-cross fashion until coarse crumbs form.
-In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla.
-Using a wooden spoon or thick spatula, stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture until well blended and no dry flour is seen at the bottom of the bowl.
-Fold in the pecans and candied fruit (the dough will be thick).
-Divide the dough into half; shape the halves into log shapes and place them on the baking sheet, about 4-5 inches apart.
-Plave the cookie sheet the center rack of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
-Use either clean dental floss, kitchen twine or a very thin spatula to gently loosed the biscotti from the baking sheet (be careful as they easily break); transfer the biscotti to a cooling rack using a wide spatula and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
-Transfer herbs biscotti to a cutting board and cut diagonally with the sharp knife into 3/4 inch slices.
-Transfer the slices back to the ungreased baking sheet and place them cut side down on the baking sheet.
-Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celcius) for an additional 15-18 minutes until firm.
-Transfer the biscotti to a cooling rack and allow to completely cool.